This handy Windows 7 feature sorts files into relevant folders in your personal library
Windows users have long been used to storing their files in folders, but many of us end up with documents and pictures scattered all over the hard disk – some in the intended folders, others saved in the wrong place and still more thrown on to the Windows Desktop to organise later.
All this means that tracking down specific files can be a pain. To help users keep their folders organised, Windows 7 introduced a feature called Libraries. This can provide quick access to files no matter where they’re stored. The Pictures Library, for instance, can herd photos stored anywhere on the hard disk – not just the contents of the traditional Pictures folder.
Windows 7 includes various Libraries set up and ready to go. To view them, click Start, then Computer, and they’ll be listed in the left-hand navigation pane. If this panel is not visible, click the Organize button and select Layout followed by Navigation pane.
At first glance, the libraries, titled Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos, look the same as the default storage folders in Windows XP and Vista. However, there is an important difference: each Library acts as a ‘container’ linked to one or more physical folders that can be located anywhere – even on a different hard disk.
Adding or removing Library folders
Right-click one of the four preset Libraries and choose Properties. The dialogue box that appears lists the ‘real’ folders included in this Library. Each Library can contain a maximum of 50 folders at the parent level – though there’s no limit to the levels of sub-folders stored within a Library.
Additional folders can be added to an existing Library by clicking the Include a folder button, navigating through the contents of the hard disk and clicking the Include folder button when a relevant folder is selected.
Removing folders from Libraries is a similar process. Again, right-click an existing Library and select Properties before selecting a folder from the Library locations panel at the centre of the dialogue box.
Click the Remove button and the folder will be deleted from the Library. Be aware that no confirmation message will be displayed, so take care to select the correct folder. When a folder is removed from a Library, the folder itself will remain intact.
Folders can also be added or removed from Libraries in another way. To remove a particular folder from a Library, expand the Library in question in the navigation pane and select the ‘Remove location from Library’ option.
This will not affect the folder itself but will merely remove it from the Library. Any folder can be added to a Library by right-clicking, pointing to Include in Library and then selecting the relevant Library.
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